Vacation Countdown~ 117 days left!!

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A few posts back Mrs. Travelers shared her top 5 rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks. Today is Mr. Travelers turn to share his top 5 rides.

Top 5 Rides/Attractions

5.)Spider Man-
I’m a big fan of the comics and Marvel in general. Universal basically made a ride that is still fairly groundbreaking and incorporated that with a theme that I enjoy which is why Spider Man is my #5.

4.) Jurassic Park-
I’m a fan of the movies and the ride. The ride, as far as I know, hasn’t changed much but it just doesn’t seem to get old, especially on those really warm hot days! It’s also been rumored that Universal will be adding Skull Island/King Kong right next door to Jurassic Park which would be really cool and might even somewhat tie into the Jurassic Park theme.

3.)Men In Black/MIB-
This ride is usually a must do for myself and travel companions. Usually we end up over by MIB late in the day when the sun is the hottest. Waiting in the queue line isn’t so terrible as it’s air conditioned and completely themed to have aliens scattered around the building. The interactive aspect of the ride and allowing the riders to shoot down the aliens and receive points, eventually all points are tallied up and you and your fellow riders will learn if you beat a different team of riders. It also allows guests the opportunity to purchase a keepsake picture taken during your ride.

2.) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey-
This ride is definitely top of the line. It was a lot of fun when we visited last. We had so much fun we made sure we rode multiple times. The only thing that was slightly annoying was the need to lock up all belongings into lockers before riding. While I understand the need, the entire Hogsmeade area was so busy that it took a little bit to get a locker and then even being able to access it to remove our belongings was difficult. We both are hoping Diagon Alley will be different.

1.) The Mummy-
This is my top ride. I enjoyed the roller coaster aspect of the ride but it wasn’t too extreme like typical roller coasters are. The room that the ride stops in that gets engulfed in flames is really cool. The entire queue line appears to look like an excavation site and getting to take pictures of it all made the wait time go by quick.
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Here are Mr. Travelers Top 3 Rides/Attractions to take a break on, especially when the Florida sun and heat start sneaking up on you.

Top 3 Break Ride/Attractions
3.) Shrek 4-D-
This movie theater style set up offers you a seat and air conditioning so if your visiting the park on a hot day give it a try. We did and it was worth it, especially since we got to cool off and rest up a bit.

2.) Disaster-
This one is an oldie but definitely a goody! I believe this one used to be called Earthquake but no matter what it’s called it is a great way to cool off and maybe even get to experience what acting is all about. I love how director “Frank Kincaid” is directing a movie ending with an Earthquake. Frank Kincaid is actually played by the actor Christopher Walken, a favorite of mine. For us and our families, this one is certainly a must do.

1.) ET-
This one brings me back to my childhood when I used to watch the movie. Plus the Mrs. doesn’t like ET and finds him creepy so making her sit through this one can be a bit of fun. The forest themed queue line is awesome and the fact that it’s air conditioned is an added bonus.

That concludes Mr. Travelers top rides/attractions at Universal Studios Resort. We hope you enjoyed the post and don’t forget to leave a comment about your favorite things at Universal Studios!

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Vacation Countdown~ 118 days left!!

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Considering we are huge Universal fans it probably wasn’t a surprise to you that we decided to discuss our previous visits to City Walk in yesterday’s post but in today’s post we thought we would also discuss how International Drive in Orlando is also a top destination stop for us every vacation.

It is one of those places that is constantly changing. No matter how many times we’ve stopped on International Drive we have always found something new. The entire street offers many different and unique dining, shopping, entertaining and lodging experiences that surely you will find something to like. We find that as long as we have a rental car, International Drive is fairly easy for us to navigate to and we recommend that you check it out too. It may not be a place that you and your family/tripmates will spend the entire day at but it’s at least worth checking out if your travel itinerary has the extra time. Here is some pictures of some of the things we saw. If nothing else it gave us the opportunity to take some pretty interesting pictures.

International Drive offers plenty of shops that you can stop at to pick up souvenirs to bring back home with you. We usually stop in a few of them trying to find the perfect gifts to bring home for family. During our last trip we did this while waiting to leave for the airport. We ended up putting the items in our carry ons and didn’t realize that security didn’t appreciate the mini snowglobes the same way the Mrs. had when she picked them out. Anyways they ended up being left behind in the airport because we had already parted ways with our luggage and the airlines would have charged us about $40.00 to have checked a little snow globe that had only cost about $3.95 plus tax. So we live and learn and now know to make sure all those extra purchased items are packed away in the luggage well before we arrive at the airport. If you’re planning your own trip hopefully this little bit of information will be helpful and you can get all your souvenirs home. It really wasn’t even about the wasted money, it was about not having a gift for someone when you arrive back home.
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Leave us a comment about your experiences at International Drive or even your terrible airport experiences.

Vacation Countdown~ 119 days left!!

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Today is a slow Saturday for us! We don’t have much going on this weekend. Just some house cleaning and maybe luggage shopping.
The Mrs. did just purchase some new Harry Potter stuff to bring along with us on our trip. Now we wait for it to be shipped. Of course we will share it once it arrives!

In today’s post we thought we would touch upon City Walk. At first, our impression of City Walk was not much of a good one. We were fairly young and still in high school, during our very first walk through. We basically walked through during our walk into Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. The walk in was fine, but walking out was a bit uncomfortable. There was so much going on and tons of loud music. We were even approached by waitresses carrying around test tube shots of alcohol. We were young and underaged and with our parents, not good. Of course we didn’t buy any, we were within eye shot of our parents so there was definitely no shenanigans. Since then all of our trips back have been nothing but pleasant. Universal has certainly set the bar for City Walk as high as they do for their theme parks in the more recent years.

With the latest edition to the theme parks, Diagon Alley, set to open to the public on July 8th, Universal foresaw the gold mine in front of them and redesigned City Walk to be able to feed and provide ample entertainment opportunities to the throngs of people expected to turn out. Most of them Potter fans with the hopes of getting in to explore their favorite wizarding world.
Here is a list of the latest additions.
Antojitos Mexican Restaurant
Cold Stone Creamery
Brick Oven Grill
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
The Bread Box
Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
Red Oven Pizza Bakery
The Hot Dog Hall of Fame Restaurant
VIVO Italian Kitchen
Starbucks (store relocation)
The Universal Studios Store

All of this of course does not include any of the on property hotels including Universal’s new Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Each hotel offers a unique array of entertainment and dining opportunities. Some of the venues and restaurants may require reservations so if you are planning a trip you may want to call ahead to guarantee you can do the things that you have envisioned. We know we’d be disappointed if we really wanted to see the Blue Man Group and didn’t buy tickets and for whatever they were sold out. That would be a total bummer!

Since our last trip there have been lots of changes to City Walk. Here are a few pictures of some of the restaurants that were available in 2012. So much has changed and we can’t wait to see it all.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Emeril's and Margaritaville
Emeril’s and Margaritaville
Nascar Cafe
Nascar Cafe

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City Walk has a lot to offer. They also have a movie cinema, shows like The Blue Man Group and even mini golf. During our 2012 visit, the mini golf was under construction so we didn’t get to play but we did still get some pictures.
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Since this will be our first time staying on Universal property we fully intend to take advantage of the many great opportunities and experiences available at City Walk. We intend to share with you in posts to come some of the places we are looking forward to most experiencing.

Leave us a comment below about your own experiences at City Walk Orlando or any questions!

Day Trips #2~ Amusement Parks

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This past weekend we ventured over to a local theme park to celebrate a family member’s birthday. This person turned 14 years old and wanted nothing more than to take a few of her friends and get on some rides. Our families are mostly from the New England area so we tend to go to fairly local places which is why we decided to go to Canobie Lake Park located in Salem New Hampshire. The drive to and from the amusement park is pretty easy and the weather was great. What better way to spend the Sunday afternoon.

Here is our New England version of the Portofino (hotel at Universal Studios Orlando)!!
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We spent the day walking around, taking in the great day and of course riding some of the rides.
Here are a few pictures of some of the rides.
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They also offer the typical amusement park food. Lot’s of yummy sugary things!!
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Located towards the back of the park is a great view of Canobie Lake.
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They also offer a small water play area. The younger kids really love this on a hot summer day.
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Vacation Countdown~ 120 days left!!

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We have 120 days left and and really need to start thinking about placing those reservations we had mentioned in a previous post, not to mention the luggage situation. Luckily we still have plenty of time but will need to really start nailing down our final itinerary sooner rather than later. Not everything needs to be set in stone but the whole Tampa trip is still up in the air and really needs some finalizing.

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On to bigger and better things! In today’s post we are going to discuss The Rip Ride Rocket roller coaster located in Universal Studios. On our trip in 2009 it was being built so we didn’t have the opportunity to ride it. During our 2012 trip neither of us had the stomach for it. We didn’t even attempt it. This year’s trip is all about trying new things and hopefully this one can be checked off the list. Here is a video from our last visit.

We’ve watched a bunch of videos on Youtube featuring people riding the Rip Ride Rocket. We were mostly concerned with the first downhill drop which is quite a sight to see from the ground. After watching the videos it doesn’t seem to be as bad as we had thought so this year we intend to go on every ride that is up, running and functioning during our visit. Hopefully we can fulfill this but who knows what the crowds will be like.

Here is two pictures from our last visit in 2012. In it you will notice that construction for Transformers was just beginning. At that same time construction for Diagon Alley was just beginning as well. Thank goodness that they both will be open during our upcoming trip in 120 days left!!
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